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Table 2 Male versus female perceptions of empowered women

From: Exploring the differences between men’s and women’s perceptions of gender-based violence in rural Tajikistan: a qualitative study

Theme Qualitative content analysis
Male group perception Female group perception Outcome COMPARISON
Education An empowered woman is educated with a university degree
“She was grown up in a very good family, has diploma, her relatives have high education”
An empowered woman is educated with a university degree
“She is smart and educated. She has received a high education and earned a university degree”
Both males and females have similar perceptions of empowered women having higher education, specifically graduating with a college degree. Empowered women have completed their primary and secondary education. A diploma was very symbolic of empowerment
Employment Empowered women have a permanent and stable job that offers a sufficient income. It is common for them to own a business, such as a factory or food shop. These women also own their land and draw profits from it
“She has a permanent job and owns a factory. She also has income from her livestock and orchard.”
“Her husband is a businessperson.”
“[An empowered woman] has her own food shop, orchard and car. She is a businesswoman. She controls income from the shop and her husband shares his income with her for the household and children.”
Empowered women have a permanent and stable job that offers a sufficient income. It is common for them to own a business, such as a factory, fashion line, bank, or medical practice
“She is designer, fashion designer… [She] has medical degree and is a doctor… [She] works in a bank… [She] is a chairwoman.”
“She has permanent job, big house, and truck. An empowered woman does not have any difficulties as she has a husband, job, children, and delicious food. She can buy whatever she wants.”
Both males and females have the perception of empowered women having their own stable income and a permanent job. However, the female group specified that empowered women can work in many diverse environments such as finance, medicine, fashion, and politics. The male group only mentioned women working in factories or owning land. Male groups varied on what they viewed as the women’s role. While some groups shared that women shared and/or controlled the income with their husbands, other groups specifically mentioned that only their husbands worked—and that is what made them empowered
Decision-making Empowered women do not make their own independent decisions and their husbands do not solely control the income. Instead, they make joint decisions with their husbands. These women have a mutual understanding within their marriage and consult with their partner when it comes to financial decisions. The husband and wife have control over their respective income, however, they both discuss their family issues and make decisions together
“The budget is controlled by both wife and husband, as they have a mutual understanding of finances in their relationship… when it comes to making financial decisions, both husband and wife will consult with one another.”
Empowered women can make joint decisions with their spouse, but it is not commonly perceived. Instead, empowered women are more likely to make their own independent decisions. This is executed by managing the household by herself and controlling the entire household budget. There was also one mention of an empowered women whose budget is solely controlled by her husband
“… [She] can buy whatever she wants because she manages her household herself… [She] has her own income so she controls it by herself.”
There was no general consensus on decision-making amongst the groups. The male group perceive that empowered women engage in joint decision-making with their husbands. This differs with the predominant female perception, as they emphasized the idea of independent decision-making. The female group stated that if an empowered woman has her own income, she is able to manage that money herself and could spend her earnings however she wanted. There was no mention of joint decision-making in the female group, however, there was one mention of the husband independently controlling their budget
Marital status Empowered women are married and have a husband Empowered women are married and have a husband There is a consensus between both groups that empowered women are married and do not engage in divorce
Relationship wellness and respect Empowered women respect their husband and treat them well. There is no mention of this being reciprocated by the husband
“An empowered woman firstly respects her husband. His wife and children respect him.”
Empowered women have a mutual respect system with their husband. Both husband and wife share love and respect for one another
“Both, wife and husband, respect each other.”
“Wife and husband have mutual understanding in the family.”
The male group perceives empowered women to have a one-sided respect system where they exclusively respect their husband, but fail to state whether women receive anything in return. This differs from the female group where empowered women have a mutual respect system within their marriage
Violence It is common for empowered women to have experience with violence during their childhood, but do not face it later in life. It is perceived that it is less likely for empowered women to experience violence because they have a family with a stable income. However, most empowered women have faced violence at some point in their lives, typically during their childhood
“Currently, she does not experience violence in the family. She only had conflict with other kids in childhood. Her children do not experience any types of violence… [She] has a friendly family that respects each other and her family has enough income.”
Empowered women are perceived to rarely experience violence during their childhood. If childhood abuse occurred, it was perpetrated by their mother. It is commonly perceived that empowered women do not experience violence throughout their lives because the family has respect for one another
“She did not experience any types of violence in the past and does not experience now. [Her] family respects her and her husband loves her very much.”
The male group perceives empowered women to have experience with violence, typically during their childhood. However, the female group perceives empowered women to be free of violence throughout their lives
Mental health Empowered women are happy and have a good life. Their mental health is in a good state
“Her life is very good… [She] is happy and has good health.”
Empowered women are happy and have a good life. She will have positive thoughts and ideas on life. Their mental health is in a good state
“She is happy… [She] has very positive thoughts and ideas for perspective life.”
There is a consensus between the male and female groups that an empowered woman’s mental health is in a good state. Therefore, leading to positive thoughts and to a “good” life